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Home Ownership Possible for More North Carolinians

April 5, 2011

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Having a place to call home continues to be a challenge for some in North Carolina, but real estate agents are getting some extra training to help them, through a program called "Homes 4 NC." Many people, like Hillary Holmes of Asheville, weren't sure where to start. But Holmes took a course to learn what programs were available to help her become a homeowner. She was able to purchase a house, and describes what that has done for her.

"Completely increased my confidence. It's a joy; I've probably wanted a home for at least 10 years. It's also helped me feel more stable and rooted in Asheville. "

"Homes 4 NC" says there are sections of the state where finding affordable housing is difficult, based on the typical salaries in the area. In Asheville, for instance, the average worker's pay is a little more than $33,000, which falls well below the amount needed to purchase the average-priced home there, at $251,000 dollars.

The "Homes 4 NC" campaign is partnering with local realtors' groups to sponsor free Affordable Housing Fairs around the state, to let people know about the programs and strategies for buying a house. The president of the Asheville Board of Realtors, Kirk Booth, explains how his industry can help.

"A realtor could help a buyer find these programs in the lending world to help them get into a house, which they may not be able to otherwise."

Realtors around the state are getting extra training to become certified workforce housing specialists. According to "Homes 4 NC," the shortage of affordable housing affects one in five homeowners and one in three renters across the state.

Stephanie Carroll Carson/Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NC